Knierim celebrated a further milestone in exquisite state-of-the-art boat building on Saturday, September 5th, 2015. With naming and launching of the high-tech racing yacht VARUNA VI the Kiel based boatyard introduced the latest generation racer designed by Ker Design with canting keel and daggerboards. Cutting-edge technologies were used for the construction of this no-compromise 17 metres long and 4.95 metres wide Ker 56.
The black fully carbon fibre yacht impressed the over 200 guests of the launch ceremony with her propeller fully retracted as in racing mode, the twin rudders and canting keel – reaching a depth of almost four metres.
“If you intend to win an international top-level regatta at some point in your sailing career, you have to make a decision whether you want a boat that is built for inshore racing or one that is optimised for long distance offshore races”, said owner Jens Kellinghusen about his vision regarding the new-build yacht. In fact, the team was highly satisfied with the yacht’s predecessor, the 5 foot shorter “Super-TP52” concept, and has sailed it “to its upper limit”. However, with a view to competing in the offshore classics – from the Rolex Fastnet Race to the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the transatlantic competitions – it was necessary to improve the yacht’s reaching speed potential in particular.
The result is a 10 percent longer and just 7 percent heavier boat than the Ker 50, but she carries an incredible 35 percent bigger sail area. “While we are talking about tenths of knots when sailing upwind and running downwind, the boat’s speed when reaching is measured in knots”, explained designer Jason Ker the major difference. The canting keel has a pivoting range of 40° to either side and provides a significant part of the yacht’s overall weight of 7.6 tonnes. The daggerboards’ position was further optimised during the design process and moved further aft near the mast. Top speeds of 30+ knots are expected. Thanks to the twin rudders the yacht remains perfectly steerable and controllable at such enormous speeds.
“Ker and Knierim were once again set for this project from the very beginning”, commented the owner expressing his confidence in these two key positions for his second new-build project and both demonstrated their appreciation by delivering a racing yacht that is a class of its own. “In order to complete this masterpiece, over the past few weeks the boat builders spent more time in the shipyard than at home”, described yard owner and crew member Gunnar Knierim the exceptional dedication of his staff. The second “VARUNA made by Knierim” was a major challenge, yet none of the experts among the guests doubt that the yacht would live up to its high expectations.
Two weeks after the launch the boat, the first and only sea trail in the Baltic Sea put a bright smile on everyone’s face on board. Builders, designer, owner and crew enjoyed the ride in flat to choppy waters near Kiel lighthouse at westerly winds of about 10 knots with gusts up to 16-17 knots. Everything on board worked well, all systems performed as expected. VARUNA VI accelerated easily to 20+ knots without any serious trimming and with just the main sail, stay sail and heavy genoa. No Gennaker was hoisted due to a not yet delivered bob stay. Also upwind she showed a good speed of around 10 knots. The daggerboards could be easily moved up and down and steering the boat was a pleasure as seen on the helmsman’s smile.
After a few hours in her elements VARUNA VI was brought back to the yard, lifted, disassembled and packed for the land transport to St. Tropez where she is expected to sail from Saturday, September 26th, 2015. These races will be the tune-up for the Middle Sea Race in October. “After that we will know the real performance of the boat”, said Jason Ker after the sea trial. For the moment he was satisfied with the performance and very impressed by the high quality standard of Knierim built boats.